PILSEN — As early voting opened up across 51 city sites Wednesday, a coalition of elected officials and community groups urged Chicagoans to cast their ballots before Election Day.
Chicagoans now can register to vote, cast ballots or drop off mail-in ballots at any site, which includes the Loop Super Site at 191 N. Clark St. and one polling place in each of the city’s 50 wards.
Secure ballot drop boxes are available at all early voting sites.
Early voting sites are open 8:30 a.m.-7 p.m. weekdays and 9 a.m.-5 p.m. weekends.
Outside Joseph Jungman Elementary School, 1746 S. Miller St., Marisel Hernandez, chair of Board of Election Commissioners, said she was “excited” to open voting sites across the city with the general election less than three weeks away.
“No matter what ward you live in, you can vote at any early voting site convenient to you across the city,” Hernandez said.
“Whether you decide to vote by mail, early vote or vote on Election Day, Chicago is proud to make voting easy, safe and accessible to everyone.”
Hernandez urged voters to verify locations as some sites were changed to ensure they were large enough and safe for staff and voters.
Each site will adhere to coronavirus safety guidelines from the Centers for Disease and Control and Prevention and the Illinois Department of Public Health. Voting boxes will be set 6 feet apart and outfitted with plexiglass dividers, and hand sanitizer will be available at polling sites, Hernandez said.
“This is a historic election, and we want all Chicagoans to make a plan [to] vote and feel safe doing so,” Hernandez said.
Hernandez said voters can still register online to vote by mail, but urged mail-in voters to apply now. Voters can also return mail-in ballots to any of the voting sites across the city.
Hernandez said nearly 500,000 Chicagoans had applied to vote by mail. More than 120,000 of those ballots have been cast so far.
“We are encouraging everyone to either vote by mail or vote early, and plan your vote ahead of time,” Hernandez said.“Don’t wait. Pick a date during this first week of early voting to avoid poor weather and potential lines.”
Ald. Byron Sigcho-Lopez (25th) said this is the most important election in recent history.
A coalition of groups across the diverse 25th Ward — which includes Pilsen, Chinatown, West Loop, McKinley Park and Little Italy — has been working hard to register and encourage Chicagoans to vote.
“Staying home is not an option,” Sigcho-Lopez said. “We must be the voice for those who don’t have a voice — those who have been marginalized. Our voice is powerful.”
Polling places will be open 6 a.m.-7 p.m. Election Day, Nov. 3.
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